Arizona Tops Tight Preseason Softball Coaches Poll
WALNUT CREEK, Calif.-- ARIZONA has been selected by the Pacific-10 softball coaches as the top team in the Conference at the outset of the 2008 season. The Wildcats received 45 points and four first place votes in the annual coaches' poll. ARIZONA STATE was a close second, earning a split of the first place votes, also with four, and 44 total points.
UCLA also came in a very close third place, garnering 40 points. With the top of the poll so crowded, the second segment was tight also, with STANFORD expected to finish fourth with 28 points. WASHINGTON earned 24 points for fifth place, while CALIFORNIA ranked sixth with 18 points. OREGON STATE and OREGON rounded out the poll in seventh and eighth place, with 15 and 10 points respectively.
All eight Pac-10 teams were chosen to participate in the NCAA Tournament in 2007, with Arizona winning their second consecutive national title. Along with the Wildcats, Arizona State and Washington qualified for the Women's College World Series with the Huskies finishing tied for third place and the Sun Devils tied for seventh.
Arizona (50-14, 15-5-1) captured the Conference title as well in 2007, with Arizona State (54-17, 13-8) finishing second and Washington (42-19, 12-9) tied with UCLA (37-18, 12-9) for third place.
The three teams at the top of the poll all return key players from last year's run, as Arizona returns WCWS Most Outstanding Player Taryne Mowatt and NFCA All-Pacific Region First Team Callista Balko. The Sun Devils return Pac-10 Player of the Year Kaitlin Cochran as well as Pac-10 Pitcher of the Year Katie Burkhart, and UCLA returns Second Team All-American Krista Colburn and NFCA All-Pacific Region Second Team Megan Langenfeld.
The 2008 softball season opens on Fri., Feb. 8 with preseason tournament action. Conference play begins on Friday, March 28.
Results of the poll are as follows. Seven points are awarded for a first-place vote, six points for a second place vote, and so on. Coaches are not allowed to vote for their own team.
2008 PACIFIC-10 CONFERENCE SOFTBALL COACHES' PRESEASON POLL
School (First Place Votes) Points 1. Arizona (4) 45 2. Arizona State (4) 44 3. UCLA 40 4. Stanford 28 5. Washington 24 6. California 18 7. Oregon State 15 8. Oregon 10